The Oakland A’s, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Houston Astros, and the Seattle Mariners; who do you love to hate in the AL West?
I think there are some obvious options here on who the Rangers’ biggest rival is. And no, I don’t mean the Houston Astros. While there may be a little Dallas vs. Houston-city rivalry going on, any team that’s averaged .333 baseball over the last three seasons isn’t a rival to anyone but themselves. So we’ll just sit that one waaay over there.
Meanwhile, the Seattle Mariners have had some pretty futile seasons themselves of late; not ending a season over .500 since 2009. But, they have made some significant moves this off-season; the biggest two being the acquisitions of Robinson Cano and Fernando Rodney. Lest we forget that they have a guy named Felix Hernandez on their team as well. You may know him better as KING Felix. All of this has many members of the media thinking the Mariners could be a contender in the AL West with the addition of another piece or two (one of which could still be Nelson Cruz); regardless of whether or not that’s true remains to be seen. What we do know is that while the moves have been made, no games have been played. And until they have been played and WON, I’m not so sure we can call them a “rival”. The proof is in the pine tar. We’ll talk again about the Mariners at the All-Star Break.
So who does this leave us with?
There is a reason that hashtag was making its rounds on Twitter and Facebook last season. The Oakland A’s have done big things with their teams over the last several years. And they have most certainly been the Rangers leading competitor in the race for first place in the division the last few seasons; finishing first in the West in 2013 and 2012. The last couple of years have been a race to the finish, coming down to the very last nerve-wracking minute.
All of this, of course, makes Rangers’ fans MAD. BASEBALL MAD. And I think that’s even worse than “slow internet” mad or “I’ve-been-sitting-on-635-for-2 hours” mad. And that’s pretty dang mad. So mad that we created hashtags, twitter accounts, bad jokes about empty ballparks, and much more just to deal with our hatred of said A’s.
So the A’s are clearly the Rangers’ biggest rival, right?
Remember this guy? Of course you do! J-Ham, Hambino…everyone’s favorite Ranger! Well…at least he was until last season.
What about this guy?
The only pitcher to lose an All-Star game, a Division Series game, an ALCS game AND a World Series game all in the same year! And for your Texas Rangers no less…YEAH! GO CEEJ!
OK…if you couldn’t tell…I am NOT a fan of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Can they just pick what city they are representing already? *bangs head against the wall*
Everything about this team infuriates me. Not only do they have two former Rangers on their roster that are more than willing to trash talk your Texas Rangers AND their fan base (Baseball town, anyone?), but they are also doing their best lately to buy themselves a championship. There is, though, something a little more satisfying when they lose now because of all of the cash they’ve spent.
Although I don’t expect the Angels to play below .500 again this year (they just have too much talent), I also don’t expect them to be major contenders in the West this year. A lot has been made of the 20 pounds that Josh Hamilton has added to his physique. And I will say that I have never doubted Hamilton as a player; the man is one of the most talented ballplayers in our era. And 20 more pounds of muscle just might mean 10 or more additional home runs (to his already monstrous totals). But I think we can all take solace in the fact that the Angels have done nothing to rectify the holes they have in their weak pitching staff. Jered Weaver is one of the best in the game and CJ Wilson is definitely solid and can do a great job. But other than those two guys, the Angels really have no one else to lean on. So I think they’ll be looking at many of the same problems they faced last year.
It’s funny to think that the Angels haven’t really been in AL West contention in a couple of years now, yet I somehow I just can’t stop disliking them. And if this is the case for me, it must be for other Rangers’ fans, right?
What do you think? Who do you love to hate?
And even better, do you think those fan bases “hate” the Texas Rangers? Or are we just in the division? A filler?